One of our family’s favorite Christmas traditions is bell-ringing for the Salvation Army. Every December (with the exception of that year we had the chicken pox), we pull out our Santa hats, bundle up warm, and head over to the mall to man the red kettle for an hour or two.
We usually sing Christmas carols as we ring, although our kids have occasionally brought a violin or a couple of harmonicas to play during our shift. The customers love it and are always very generous.
A handbell is always provided at the collection site, but we’ve made extras by threading jingle bells onto a piece of coat hanger, then attaching it to a popsicle stick handle with red duct tape. That way, all our kids have something to ring, too.
Some years, the weather has been bitter cold on the day we’re scheduled to ring. That doesn’t happen very often in Texas, but when it does, we don’t want to keep our little ones out in it for a full hour, so we divide and conquer. Each child rings and sings with Mom for 10-15 minutes at a time, then spends the rest of the time inside the mall with Daddy or an older sibling, where they can get warm, buy a sweet treat, and knock out a little Christmas shopping.
Ringing the bell for Salvation Army this time of year makes a great service project for church, school, or scout groups. They are always looking for fresh volunteers, and their new website makes it easy to help. Now you can sign up to ring bells online.
And if you see a bell-ringer on your next shopping trip, please donate. The money will be put to good use helping the needy in your own community. Blessings all around!